Daily Archives: January 15, 2016

Is it time to Plus-size?

By now, you’ve probably noticed that the doctor has been contributing on a regular basis to Spend Matters CPO and Spend Matters PLUS, the first of which, like SI and Spend Matters classic, is free, and the second of which is paid (and costs 19.99 / month).

You’re probably wondering why, as SI has always been, and has always been free, as Spend Matters basic, and the doctor will not promote any blog that is not free, because of his belief that if you’re going to have a blog with the intention to inform and educate, you make sure its accessible to all.

However, Spend Matters PLUS (a subset of their PRO business offering) is not a blog, and, sometimes blogs are not enough. Why?

Unless a blogger has a large amount of sponsorship money, or is independently wealthy, (s)he can only spend so much time on the blog on a daily basis, and only impart so much knowledge and wisdom to you. (And if a blogger does generate such a significant income from sponsorships, you have to question how complete the material is as many sponsorships come with a high price tag*.) But, as SI has clearly explained over the past year, you are in Procurement hell, facing dozens of damnations on a daily basis, and the knowledge and wisdom you need to get smarter and more efficient is much, and the amount any one blogger can impart is minimal.

When it comes time to select a new solution, define a new process, or define the next challenge, you need a lot of knowledge and a lot of wisdom, and the chances that any single blog, or blogger, will have recently written everything you need is slim.

You could go to a big analyst firm or a niche consultancy to get a customized report or recommendation, but that costs a lot of money, and if you’re not sure what you need, it could be a waste of money. But if you have more knowledge and insight on the topic, you can narrow in on what you need and if you do need to hire an analyst or a consultant, you can focus them in on your needs, spend less, and get more.

Over on Spend Matters PLUS, the prophet has assembled a team of experts who are contributing detailed pieces on technology, process, and relevant topics that you as a Procurement professional will need deeper insight on, at some point over the next year, on a regular basis. In addition to the prophet, who is an expert on P2P, marketplace analysis, M&A, and solution evaluation, you have regular contributions from:

  • the maverick who is the top analyst and supply management framework developer in the space,
  • the anarchist who is one of the leading operations research, supplier management, and process evaluators in the space, and
  • the public defender who is an expert on procurement process and public sector procurement and an international correspondent

among other experts who chime in from time to time. And the articles are deep. The average length of the articles that the doctor has been contributing on are 4 pages. That’s about 3 times the average length of an SI post. And most of the articles are part of in-depth multi-part series that give you more information on a topic than most analyst firms will.

Now, is it right for you? That depends. If you are a lucky one who works for a progressive Procurement organization, then you might have subscriptions to analyst firm research and market intelligence firm publications or training academies that provide you with a wealth of knowledge and not need much more. But, if you work for an average organization which frowns on you taking the time to even fill out a subscription for a free publication, it’s more than you could ask for given the price.

SI’s recommendation is that it’s worth it. And the recent series the doctor has collaborated on, including multi-part series on Contract Lifecycle Management (platforms), Supplier Relationship Management (platforms), Marketing Spend Management, Direct Material and Commodity Spend, among others, are among the most in-depth and encompassing series on the subjects you will find anywhere. It’s not a replacement for SI or Spend Matters (CPO), but a resource that fills in the gap when your organization won’t pay for the knowledge you need and you’re forced to acquire that knowledge yourself. As this is only the second paid resource SI has ever recommended (the first being the NLPA for new Procurement professionals who still need the foundations), you know there has to be something there.

* It’s sad to say, but some companies won’t sponsor unless they get one or more of the following: final say over what is said about them, final say about what is said (or not said) about their competition, the right to guest post whatever they want on a schedule, the right to whatever marketing or registration lists you have, and/or the right to write their copy and have you stamp your logo on it (and both SI and SM have seen examples of this on “blogs” in the past — sometimes the copy wasn’t even edited and was clearly written by an internal PR person of the company the “brief” was about who couldn’t even run a simple spell check), etc. Finding sponsors who will support pure education, and not request anything more than a simple fact check on pieces on them, is a lot harder than a reader or aspiring blogger might think.